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Q&A Why/how can distro support lifetimes exceed the lifetime of their dependencies (such as Python)?

Motivating example: my Mint 20.3 distribution offers long-term support until April 2025, which matches the "standard support" offered for the upstream Ubuntu (20.04 "Jammy Jellyfish"). However, the...

2 answers  ·  posted 3mo ago by Karl Knechtel‭  ·  last activity 3mo ago by matthewsnyder‭

#1: Initial revision by user avatar Karl Knechtel‭ · 2024-03-29T21:45:16Z (3 months ago)
Why/how can distro support lifetimes exceed the lifetime of their dependencies (such as Python)?
Motivating example: my Mint 20.3 distribution offers long-term support until April 2025, which matches the "standard support" offered for the upstream Ubuntu (20.04 "Jammy Jellyfish"). However, the system-provided Python version is 3.8, which [reaches the end of security support this October](https://endoflife.date/python), half a year earlier.

Similarly, the next LTS Ubuntu release (and corresponding Mint release) are based on Python 3.10, which will similarly EOL half a year before the end of support for the Linux distros. Both Python and Ubuntu/Mint offer a total of 5 years of support (Ubuntu Pro notwithstanding), and Python now has a 1-year release cadence while Ubuntu and Mint do major-version LTS releases every 2 years - so they are advancing in lock-step.

Should I expect my system Python to be automatically updated (or to be prompted for an update) at some point? Or else, why would the maintainers deliberately offer an additional 6 months of support for an OS that depends on a no-longer-supported version of Python?

More generally, how does it make sense to offer this kind of support schedule, outlasting system components that are no longer maintained by their respective authors?